Top 25 Women in Dentistry: Deborah Borden-Dunker, DMD

September 6, 2012

Deborah Borden Dunker sold her practice after retiring from orthodontics and now spends her time on Christian and dental-related missions. She has traveled to Guatemala, Brazil, Peru, Liberia, India and Thailand in order to train and help those in need of dental care, where there are often no dentists.

Deborah Borden Dunker sold her practice after retiring from orthodontics and now spends her time on Christian and dental-related missions. She has traveled to Guatemala, Brazil, Peru, Liberia, India and Thailand in order to train and help those in need of dental care, where there are often no dentists.

Dunker volunteers for many reasons, one of which is to avoid what she calls the depersonalization of medicine, which happens when you forget the best interest of the patient and instead worry about the business side and the money.

To Dunker, exposure to the profession early is most important because that’s how you’ll know it’s something you’re going to love.

“It wasn’t always something I wanted to do. I became interested in it by the people around me and my roommate in college,” she said.

When it comes to influencing others, she said, “I never expected the amount of influence I could have on someone’s life just by being their orthodontist. A child’s confidence and self-esteem is often affected by the care that you provide.”

The best advice she’s gotten came later in her life, but was in itself, timeless.

“Faith is so important in my life now, and I think that when it wasn’t that was when I struggled the most,” she said. “Always put God first, family second, and then everything else will fall into place. When I received that advice, I immediately wished I’d received it sooner, because if you lose your faith and family you lose touch with everything.”

When she first graduated from dental school she was interested in going into a specialty, but she was burnt out from school and almost chose not to, but then made a decision based on a little unexpected guidance.

“One of the professors in the dental school overheard that I was interested in going into a specialty and he pulled me aside and said, if you don’t do this now, you never will,” she recalled. “If he hadn’t said that to me, I think I would have taken a different path. He really made me think and I’m thankful for that.”

In the future, Dunker has faith in God’s plan for her as she works with those struggling with dental health.